The Edmonton Oilers have had some slips in the draft light the last few years. Sure, some of them, like Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall have been a big success, but they have the wrong idea about drafting. Crunching some numbers the other night, I came up with the reason the Oilers aren’t doing so good. Coming up in this post will describe why the Oilers haven’t been so successful. The big problem that Edmonton has is that they draft too many offensive players. Sure it’s nice to have the top forwards but if you have to many, it makes your team lopsided. Since 2007, the Oilers drafted 44 players. 28 of them (64%) were offensive players. These include players like Sam Gagner, Linus Omark, and Magnus Paajarvi. Their first pick in every draft since 2007 was a forward. With owning the first draft pick in the last three drafts, they have chosen, predictably, the top forwards. With the Oilers adding many forwards, it can make an imbalance in their play.
Let’s speak defense. Knowing that the Oilers are well staffed on the offensive front, the defense needs some fine-tuning. Sure, it’s arguable that they have strong defenseman, like Ladislav Smid and
Theo Peckham, but it’s nice to bring in new defenseman to make the defense fresh. Since 2007, the oilers have acquired 16 defensive player (a mix between 12 defenseman and four goalies). None of the goalies acquired in the draft played one single game in the Oilers jersey. The highest drafted defenseman by Edmonton came in the first round was Alex Plante (2007), who seen 10 NHL games. The only other draft pick that was a defenseman who played in at least one game was Johan Motin. He was drafted in the 4th round of the 2008 draft. I know I’ve never heard of him, and I’m a pretty big Oilers fan.
Notable players for the Edmonton Oilers are almost all forwards. Out of nine players, one of them (11%) is a defenseman. These notable players are Sam Gagner (2007 – Center), Alex Plante (2007 – Defender), Linus Omark (2007 – Forward), Jordan Eberle (2008 – Center), Teemu Hartikainen (2008 – Left Wing), Magnus Paajarvi (2009 – Left Wing), Taylor Hall (2010 – Left Wing), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011 – Center), and Nail Yakupov (2012 – Right Wing).
It’s given that Nail Yakupov and the others drafted in 2012 haven’t had a chance to change these statistics, but it couldn’t change much. Only two defenseman (round four and round five ) were acquired in 2012. With the team they have after the last few drafts, they can’t have a winning season. The Oilers need to draft a top defenseman the next couple of drafts. Their chances of winning isn’t as great as it could be without the right amount of balance.
So who should have been drafted by the Edmonton Oilers? Well, in the last draft, they could have started recovering by drafting either Ryan Murray or Olli Maatta. Sure, Columbus could have then capitalized on Nail Yakupov, but maybe they still would have taken a defenseman because they know that they need defenseman to be successful. But that’s the Blue Jackets, and I don’t want to get into that. Maybe the lockout is a good time for Edmonton to realize they need defensemen, and they can change their draft ways.